The Northeast Pioneer Square Framework Plan
A visionary project that aims to shape the future of this vibrant area in Seattle.
With a focus on unique public spaces, government services, residents, small businesses, and development potential, this plan positions Northeast Pioneer Square as a gateway to the City of Seattle. Join us in our community-driven journey towards recovery and transformation.
Our vision for Northeast Pioneer Square begins by recognizing and honoring the Indigenous peoples connected to this land past, present, and future. As a vital transportation hub, the seat of local government, and a welcoming place to live, work, and play, our neighborhood is a gateway to the city of Seattle and beyond. Art and architecture showcase the neighborhood’s rich history, creating an urban oasis with reverence for this area’s many histories and cultures. The collective presence of our diverse community is reflected in our vibrant public spaces, thriving local businesses, and organizations serving people in need.
The area has a rich and complex history dating back at least 10,000 years when ancestors of today’s Duwamish and Suquamish people settled here. Throughout much of the year, Indigenous men, women, and children traveled the region’s waterways to fish, hunt, gather bounty, trade, and visit. During winter, they erected longhouses in villages. Djijila’letc, translated as “Little Crossing-Over Place,” was one such village, located amidst a lagoon, tidal flats, and towering trees in what is today
Now home to a variety of businesses, government services, art galleries, artist studios, social services,
and residents, Northeast Pioneer Square is uniquely positioned as the gateway between the broader Pioneer Square neighborhood, the Chinatown-International District, and Downtown Seattle. As a tourist destination, the area also draws many visitors each year, making solutions to the shared challenges more complicated and underscoring the need for collaboration.
This framework plan synthesizes the needs of residents, businesses, and service providers by consolidating years of policy direction and planning with new community-driven initiatives. These plans have shaped what the area is today and what is envisioned for the future. This work also considers the near-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that continue to affect the daily lives of those within this area, along with mid- and long-term objectives that will help the district evolve over time.
Goals and Objectives
Act Together Quickly
Identify “quick wins” that can be implemented at low cost within 12-18 months.
Create more avenues for dialogue
Conduct a coordinated, public/private “full court press” to re-establish maintenance and safety
Improve lighting to invite more people, especially during the darker winter months
Activate public spaces
Improve the visibility in and safety
Elevate Diverse Histories and Cultures
Acknowledge Pioneer Square’s Indigenous history and diverse cultural significance by incorporating stories, art, and interpretive elements in public realm improvements and through storytelling.
Rename public spaces to acknowledge the area’s diverse history
Promote and expand knowledge of the history of the area
Improve public spaces using historic materials
Make Every Block Safe and Accessible
Address community concerns about safety and neighborhood access for residents, employees and visitors.
Increase foot traffic and activities along public streets
Improve lighting in public spaces
Improved relationships between neighborhood businesses, services, and sports venue
Provide a Full Range of Housing Types
Diversify housing options by providing workforce and market-rate housing options in and near the Northeast Pioneer Square area.
Increase the number of housing options in the area
Advocate for revised regulatory requirements to support housing options
Diversify Employment Opportunities
Increase the number of business and employment opportunities in key ground floor and upper stories of buildings.
Support existing small businesses
Attract new businesses to the area
Reduce Inequities While Supporting Those Most in Need
Collaborate with human service providers to broaden poverty and mental health services in and around Northeast Pioneer Square.
Increase access to local and regional services
Improve the visibility and identity of Northeast Pioneer Square by entries into the district.
Activate and highlight district edges
Rebrand and manage the area’s public spaces
Highlight transportation as a defining feature of the area
Make Art Visible
Highlight local artists and creativity.
Provide opportunities for temporary and pop-up art
Identify locations for permanent art installations
Establish and Maintain Beautiful Civic Spaces
Improve access and amenities that makes streets and parks desirable for pedestrians.
Acknowledge and celebrate that Northeast Pioneer Square is the front door to democracy and government’s process
Improve the business and visitor environment through active management and technical assistance
Invest in a high-quality, well-maintained, seamless public realm
Increase activation and programming
Improve tree and vegetation management
Align public realm investments with Federal accessibility requirements
Improve retail frontages
Prioritize People Walking, on Bikes, and On Transit
Focus on making every street safe, attractive and connected for pedestrians, cyclists and those accessing transit.
Increase communication about multimodal planning
Create safer streets through traffic calming
Support pedestrian connections through the area
Questions or comments?
This framework plan represents a snapshot in time and reflects the community’s commitment to recover and transform. Existing and future residents, businesses, property owners, service providers, and City and County governments all have a role in moving this framework plan forward.
The next phase of this framework plan relies on the sustained involvement of actively engaged stakeholders who are committed to seeing that goals and actions are implemented over time. Under the Alliance for Pioneer Square’s stewardship, this framework plan will continue to represent the myriad voices of Northeast Pioneer Square, and advocate for the resources needed to drive lasting neighborhood recovery and transformation.